A look back at the biggest stories of the past five years, from megalaunches and IPOs to the failed SEC registration experiment and recent blowups
By Michelle Celarier
The past five years might be considered the golden age of hedge funds. At least, plenty of gold was thrown around. At the end of 2002, when Absolute Return first began tracking U.S. hedge fund assets, 100 firms with at least $1 billion each had a total of $310 billion. By the beginning of 2008, 262 firms had more than $1 billion, for a total of $1.6 trillion. That's more than a fivefold increase.
Money is what drives the business, so everything else that has happened in the past five years has followed the massive flows into hedge funds. These had their roots in the last financial crisis - the bear market of 2000 through 2002. Hedge fund managers had long had a roguish...